AMLT Newsletter

AMLT releases a quarterly electronic newsletter that is distributed through email and placed on our website.  These newsletters include opening statements from Chairman Lopez, Executive Director Khalsa, and highlight some of the recent projects and other  initiatives of AMLT.  If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please fill out the form here, or send an email to info@amahmutsun.org asking to be added to the mailing list. 

 

FALL 2018

AN INTRODUCTION FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ

Dear Friends,

For the past three years our Native Stewards have participated in two six-week summer field schools with UC Berkeley on the coast of Santa Cruz. One of the sites they worked on was approximately 7,500 years old. As part of this research, there were two graduate students who were studying how our ancestors stewarded and used ocean resources. Of particular interest to them were seaweed, sea mammals, shellfish and small fish such as sardines and herring. These two researches, Mike Grone and Gabriel Sanchez, are now finalizing their studies. Their research is critical to our Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) because not only did our ancestors actively stewards the lands within their territory, but they also stewarded the coastlines. The knowledge gained from this research will help AMLT restore our traditional understanding of marine environments and looking after the native species that Creator entrusted to our care… continue reading.

CONNECTING NATIVE YOUTH TO THE COAST

By Sara French, AMLT Director of Programs and Development

“So are we doing anything else besides just walking?” I looked down to see Bear, one of our youth campers, shuffling beside me with a perplexed look on his face. We were on an ethnobotany hike at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, and yes, my plan as the activity leader was just to walk and talk about the medicinal, edible, and otherwise useful plants that we encountered. We were a group of about 30 people – Amah Mutsun campers ages 12-17, Native Stewards serving as staff, and tribal elders who came out for the week to support their youth and the program. I took a quick assessment of the situation. It was a glorious day in the redwood forest. The beautiful Purisima Creek was babbling away below us. I was leading a group of tribal members who were visiting a part of their ancestral homeland that most had  never seen before. I turned to Bear and said “Well what else were you hoping we would do?” He replied “Aren’t we going to stop and explore or something?” Great idea, Bear. At that moment we happened to be at a perfect spot to access the water, so we veered off the main trail and headed towards the banks of Purisima Creek… Read more

INTEGRATING CULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE SURVEY AT COTONI-COAST DAIRIES

By Rob Cuthrell, AMLT Research Associate

In early 2017, President Obama issued a proclamation that added ~5800 acres of Bureau of Land Management property along the coast of Santa Cruz County to the California Coastal National Monument and designated this land as “Cotoni-Coast Dairies.” The property is named in recognition of the historical tribe who lived there, the Cotoni (pronounced “Cho-tony”) and for the small family dairies and ranches which operated there from the latter half of the 1800s through the 1900s. In 2016, Amah Mutsun Land Trust signed a memorandum of understanding with BLM which described how the two organizations would work together to steward cultural and natural resources on the property.

Since BLM acquired the Cotoni-Coast Dairies property from a private land trust, BLM and AMLT have been working together to ensure that any plans for public access will minimize the risk of harm to sensitive cultural and natural resources, such as archaeological sites or threatened plants and animals. Continue reading. 

NOTES FROM THE NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS

By Alexii Sigona, Native Steward Intern

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps reconnects tribal members with traditional cultural practices, places, and knowledge through conservation fieldwork and cultural education. Here Alexii Sigona shares his experience as a summer intern on the crew. Alexii is in his senior year at San Francisco University working towards a degree in Environmental Studies, and he intends to pursue a graduate degree focused on food rights and land sovereignty among federally unrecognized tribes.

Late on a sunny Monday morning, the Amah Mutsun Native Stewardship Corps drives to the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. The sun is a nice change from our last location, foggy Pescadero State beach, where we tidepooled earlier in the day with UC Berkeley archaeologists and learned about our ancestors’ relationship with “kalle,” the ocean. Continue reading.   

SLIDESHOW - FUEL REDUCTION WORK AT QUIROSTE VALLEY CULTURAL PRESERVE

Compiled by Jay Scherf

This summer, about three-quarters of Native Stewardship Corps (NSC) work has consisted of fuel reduction efforts at Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve, a section of Año Nuevo State Park. Quiroste is home to large swaths of coastal prairie that contains an abundance of culturally significant species and provides habitat for two federally-listed species. However, in the absence of periodic disturbance such as the prescribed burning that Native Californians undertook for millennia, the coastal prairie has been rapidly invaded by a succession of woody shrubs and young Douglas-fir trees. View some of our favorite moments here

AMAH MUTSUN ETHNOBOTANY

By Sara French, AMLT Director of Programs and Development

Do you want to learn more about the useful and culturally significant plants in the California landscape? Each AMLT newsletter will highlight a native plant that is used by the Amah Mutsun. Click here to read about ethnobotany of tule.

WISDOM FROM ASCENCION

Edited by Jay Scherf, AMLT Program Coordinator

Ascension Solorsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she and other Mutsun people shared their knowledge with the ethnographer John P. Harrington, who recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. Here are some of her words.